Short post -I’m itchy and sweaty from working until dusk next to a tree line. See, I just came back from destroying 30% of my Tomato crop due to an almost certain infection of Late Blight. I spent this evening tearing out the plants and throwing them onto a 120sq ft rubber mat which I then covered with greenhouse plastic – I love what you can find in farm sheds in a pinch. This I will let cook for several days to solarize the infected plants, and then I will likely burn the residue. The burning is prolly overkill – so lets call it revenge…
For reasons I am still pondering it seems to have contained itself to one portion of my tomato crop. Hypothesis is that this planting of ‘maters was the most suseptible – it was in a sheltered area that did not see much wind at all being between my hoop house and a 20′ tall tree line. Furthermore, on each side of the tomatoes I had some VERY vigorous three sisters going – 7′ tall corn (no fertilizer!!) and 30′ pumpkin vines about 2’ tall – again further reducing the winds ability to get in. Why is the wind important? The dew would linger much longer on this planting allowing any Blight Spores to get a toehold. That is my theory.
Learnings / Thank Gods (as long as I contained the infection):
- Seperated plantings – I had 42 tomato plants of 7 varieties total. Those 42 plantings are in 4 spots – all seperated by at least 1 plant family and 15 yards (I realize I have alot of space)
- Plant resistant cultivars. This year I purchased 3 blight resistant potato varieties (Elba, Nicola, Island Sunshine) on a hunch, and out of sheer luck 2 of those are surrounding my infected plants.
- Walk your fields. With under .25 acres this isn’t too hard, but get out every week and walk every row with an observant eye. I watched this infection spread in growing horror for 4 days until I was convinced it was Late Blight – and maybe – just maybe – contained it in my tomatoes before it got into my spuds.
This infection cost me about 200#’s of tomatoes, but fingers crossed that my scorched earth actions tonight are enough to hold it to my 12 martyrs.
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